“Ally McBeal”

Ally McBeal was a late-90’s cultural phenomenon that featured David E. Kelley’s legendarily electric writing and a phenomenal cast, including the previously unknown Calista Flockhart in the title role. The show was strikingly modern in its treatment of workplace dynamics and interpersonal relationships, and sparked a debate about the state of modern feminism because its female characters were allowed to be flawed and complex. It also knew how to draw buzz, with the unisex corporate bathrooms, dancing hologram babies, musical guest performers, and a timebomb arc from Robert Downey Jr.  The show helped define the dramedy niche and shows like Scrubs, How I Met Your Mother, and New Girl would follow in their footsteps. The Hollywood Reporter gathers the principles for a look back.

‘Ally McBeal’ at 20: Calista Flockhart, David E. Kelley and More on Dancing Babies, Feminism and Robert Downey Jr.

HollywoodReporter.com, 9.4.17

Tony Kushner’s “Angels in America”

Angels in America is the iconic dramatization of the American AIDS crisis. It was written and performed by committed members of a theater community that had been decimated by the epidemic. The play first appeared in San Francisco in 1991 after a tumultuous pre-production phase that included the decision to split the seven hours of material into two plays. It would win the Pulitzer Prize and dominate the Tony Awards for two years running. Its star-studded 2003 HBO adaptation won ten Emmys, including awards for Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, Mary-Louise Parker, and director Mike Nichols. Slate produced one of the best oral histories of 2016 to mark the 25th anniversary of one of the most important American productions of all time.

Angels in America: The Complete Oral History

Slate.com, 12.18.17

The Ice Bowl: The Cowboys Visit the Frozen Tundra

The Cowboys were looking for revenge when they visited Lambeau Field for the 1967 NFL Championship Game (the rough equivalent of today’s conference championships).  They had lost in the previous year’s edition to the same Packers, that time in Dallas, and they wanted payback. Conditions would be a bit different, however, as it would be the coldest game in NFL history, with a game time temperature of -17 and wind chills below -50. The famous “frozen tundra” was quite literally frozen and had a layer of ice to boot. The game would be would be thrilling and close despite the conditions. A legendary Green Bay drive in the final minutes, capped by a Bart Starr QB sneak into the end zone, proving the difference. The win would prove be the final championship of the Vince Lombardi era. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel goes all out in a 50-year oral history of a game that will forever live in NFL lore.

The Ice Bowl, 50 years later: An oral history of the Packers-Cowboys 1967 NFL Championship Game

JSOnline.com, 12.31.17

 

And God Created Penis Pills: The Story of Viagra

Viagra (sildenafil citrate) began life as a Pfizer trial for high blood pressure and chest pain. It showed no promise and was one financial quarter away from the garbage bin when a trial debrief of some Welsh miners revealed an odd side effect: more boners. After scratching together enough money for an impotence study, the drug began its legendary ascent (ahem). Approved by the FDA in 1998 it was an instant sensation, to a degree that Pfizer never remotely considered. It would go on to make $32.6B during its 20-year exclusive license. Bloomberg talks to some corporate and industry insiders about the transforming power of a little blue pill.

The Little Blue Pill: An Oral History of Viagra

Bloomberg.com, 12.11.17